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Anyone Been Boating In Ireland?


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Yes but I haven't been since 2005. We went for 2 weeks, started from a base on the Upper Erne (I don't think it's there now). We cruised as far as somewhere below Carrick on Shannon. It was beautiful and, even though we were there in August, very very very quiet. Mooring places are a bit sporadic but as long as you plan ahead for them it's not a problem.

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We went when I believe it first became popular for hiring.  I think the yard was 'Carrick on Star line' which I think had a tie up with Guiness (due to the cans given to us when getting obn board!  Problem is now that my (then) wife was expecting our first son Mark, Who is now 50 years old!  So the memory is now a bit distant.   I am sure the boat was a new Broom Skipper.  It was a bit of a shock after the 'Broads' and greater care was neccessary.  I am sure we had a great time.

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10 hours ago, oldgregg said:

You'll probably want to take a look at Manor House Marine and Aghinver Boating Company as they have really good fleets on the Erne.

There's also Silver Line on the Shannon, though it'll take a while to get across the canal onto the Erne system from their base.

It was Aghinver we went with, I'd forgotten the name and I didn't realise they were still around. They looked after us pretty well and the boat was great.

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22 hours ago, oldgregg said:

You'll probably want to take a look at Manor House Marine and Aghinver Boating Company as they have really good fleets on the Erne.

There's also Silver Line on the Shannon, though it'll take a while to get across the canal onto the Erne system from their base.

Thank you for the links, that's very helpful, I will take a look.

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16 hours ago, Broads01 said:

It was Aghinver we went with, I'd forgotten the name and I didn't realise they were still around. They looked after us pretty well and the boat was great.

They're a decent fleet, yeah. And they've taken on the old LeBoat / Emerald Star base in Belturbet in addition to their original Aghinver yard right up on Loch Erne itself so there's a decent choice of start locations.

I haven't done Ireland for quite some time, but the Erne is a really lovely system. It's a sort of blend of the Broads and the Caledonian Canal, but with the added requirement of needing to read the charts pretty much all the time and have the binoculars ready to watch out for rocks on Lough Erne itself.

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On 06/10/2021 at 15:42, oldgregg said:

. It's a sort of blend of the Broads and the Caledonian Canal, but with the added requirement of needing to read the charts pretty much all the time and have the binoculars ready to watch out for rocks on Lough Erne itself.

I'd agree with that. The islands on the Lough make the views interesting. As I recall, navigation was pretty straightforward. On the Lough, I remember posts marking the channel that had arrows on top signalling which side of them you had to be, a better system than the red-green in my view.

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On 06/10/2021 at 15:42, oldgregg said:

They're a decent fleet, yeah. And they've taken on the old LeBoat / Emerald Star base in Belturbet in addition to their original Aghinver yard right up on Loch Erne itself so there's a decent choice of start locations.

I haven't done Ireland for quite some time, but the Erne is a really lovely system. It's a sort of blend of the Broads and the Caledonian Canal, but with the added requirement of needing to read the charts pretty much all the time and have the binoculars ready to watch out for rocks on Lough Erne itself.

I would highly recommend the Lough Erne system. 

This was our first holiday on a hire cruiser and we had a fantastic time - the scenery is absolutely beautiful, at least in good weather (and unfortunately in Ireland that's not exactly a given - as the taxi driver said, Ireland is lovely but it needs a roof).

I'd agree with the comment that you actually have to navigate from the charts, but that's all part of the fun. The boat came with binoculars to read the numbers on the marker posts so you could check where you were. Some of the top end boats have GPS navigation I think, and I admit we cheated the odd time with GPS on a phone (I seem to recall there was good mobile coverage). It's good for a family trip as the children can keep occupied being useful keeping track of where you are.

I'd say it's quite different from the Broads, with - of course - plusses and minuses. It was a lot quieter, which certainly has its advantages - coming in to a mooring someone almost always took the ropes for us which was quite good for us as first time hirers.

There is a lot more freedom in where you go since you're mostly on one of two big loughs full of islands, rather than going up and down rivers. Very few bridges of a height to worry about (there wasn't even anything on the boat telling us the air draft). When we did the Broads a few years later we found it a bit constraining compared to Lough Erne, and missed having to actually navigate. (On the other hand there's lots we loved about the Broads and we're planning on our second visit there in a couple of weeks).

No wild mooring or mud weighting/anchoring, but on the other hand there are quite a few islands to explore. A couple have tourist attractions on and a ferry service to them, but the rest can only be visited if you bring your own boat. I'd say there aren't an a awful lot of places worth visiting on land compared to the Broads, and unfortunately Ireland isn't really into public footpaths the way Great Britain is so if you like walking it's not ideal. But we really enjoyed just exploring a part of the country that you really need a boat to see. Like the Broads there's some interesting history - although it's now rather out of the way, in a time when river travel was much easier than by land it was apparently quite a thorougfare.

At the southern end of Lough Erne you end up in the Irish Republic. The chart we were given didn't show the border and there weren't any signs when we crossed it). I suspect some hire boaters get a bit of a surprise when they go to buy supplies there and find all the prices in Euros.

No locks (well one, but in the summer usually open) unless you head down the Shannon-Erne waterway.

No speed limits for much of the system, but in a hire boat you probably won't be able to open up much once you leave the 5 knot areas.

No tides to worry about, but the Lower Lough (confusingly at the top end of the map) is large and open and when it's windy it gets very choppy. If you want to get a feel for what it's like being at sea, it's the place for you! (I believe the boat we had was designed for going out to sea, albeit with beefier engines. Nevertheless we spent some time at one point heading in the wrong direction for where we wanted to go because we didn't dare take the waves broadside until we got close to the coast and they died down a bit.)

Apologies if this is all a bit stream-of-consciousness. In summary, I'd highly recommend it for an enjoyable boating holiday that's quite different from the Broads.

I'd love to go back, and maybe if possible hire on the Shannon then head to Lough Erne through the Shannon-Erne waterway.

 

 

We hired from Manor Marine and (though this was a few years ago so maybe things have changed) I'd recommend them. One nice thing was being able to fill in a form with the groceries you wanted, and get on the boat to find them all stowed away on board - very handy when you don't come by car, though actually it wasn't far to a mooring by a large Tescos.

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